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Cigarette May Have Ignited Pipeline, Killing Scores In Kenya

Horrific news from Kenya this morning:

"A leaking gasoline pipeline in Nairobi exploded on Monday, turning part of a slum into an inferno in which at least 61 people were killed and more than 100 hurt." (The Associated Press)

And the BBC, which reports the death toll could top 100, says "reports suggest Monday's blast may have been sparked by a cigarette butt being thrown into an open sewer that was filling with fuel."

It appears that hundreds of people had descended on the area in a Nairobi slum to collect fuel that was spilling from a broken tank.

A similar tragedy happened in Nigeria five years ago, when more than 250 people were killed by an explosion that occurred as hundreds tried to collect gasoline from a pipeline that thieves had broken open.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.